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  1. #1
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    Giant Salamander Trail now open at Skeggs

    From an e-mail I received this morning:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Hi All,

    The Giant Salamander Trail is open as of today 4/14/09. I want to congratulate the Skyline Crew on a job well done. This project combined an improvement in public access and reduction of the human footprint in El Corte Madera Preserve. The crew removed culverts and sediment from several significant drainages and replaced them with bridges, narrowed a erosion prone old logging road to a sustainable multiuse trail and installed numerous sediment reduction measures. This project not only involved crew time but also contributions from contractors, volunteers, the resource management department and the planning department (especially Meredith Manning). Once again thanks to the crew for all the hard work. The salamanders will appreciate it (they hate sediment in their gills). I encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the trail.

    Happy Trails,
    Brian

    Brian Malone
    Skyline Area Superintendent
    Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District
    330 Distel Circle
    Los Altos, CA 94022
    (650) 949-1848

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Woo hoo!!!
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  2. #2
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    Good to know.

    Can't wait to check it out.

  3. #3
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    Rode the trail last night, coming up Methusaleh saw the sign was gone so ended up riding up Giant Salamander.

    I will say that the trail is definitely better in the downward direction (Timberview to Methusaleh) although it is climbable in the other direction now. Lots of bridges, 3 I think. Definitely hard to remember where the old trail was.

    Even though that e-mail was dated yesterday there were still signs our last night saying that it was closed, particularly at the trailheads and then up near the intersection of Crosscut and Timberview even though there weren't any at the trail.

    Either way, many years in the making and this is a welcome addition to the loops!!!

  4. #4
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    i am heading up there after working. i could use a good ride tonight before the OTTER this weekend.

  5. #5
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    i was there last weekend for ride with the pros day it was not open always next time
    annadel is where its at

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  6. #6
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    suhweet! from the MROSD site:

    El Corte de Madera Creek

    The eastern section of the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail is closed to all use due to trail upgrades, bridge construction, and other restoration work. That portion of the El Corte de Madera Creek Trail is expected to reopen by summer 2009. In the meantime, please consider using the Fir Trail or the Tafoni Trail as an alternate route.

    The Giant Salamander Trail is now open for use. Please enjoy the trail.

    Please also check the seasonal trail closure map for El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve and Seasonal Trail Closures page before heading out.
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  7. #7
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    Yay! It's about freakin' time. That should open up some loop possibilities that haven't been available in at least 2 years.
    Work is the curse of the biking classes.

  8. #8
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    Oh man! I was just there last night. I guess I'll just have to swing by there this weekend or maybe tomorrow.
    I like to ride bikes.

  9. #9
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    Awesome! I'll check that out tomorrow...
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  10. #10
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    Road it last night and was pleasantly surprised at how well the new trail flowed, I expected the worst after that first terrible reroute. I sorely miss the fun of the original trail along with all the old steeper technical trails this park used to offer, but I guess this is about as good as we can expect these days. It should only get better with time as the trail narrows and isn't quite so buff.

    Nice to have different route options open back up and it's clear a lot of time and expense went into building this trail.

  11. #11
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    A Review

    The giant salamander trail at ecdm re-opened today, and I got a chance to get out there and ride it.

    My route took me from Skeggs point along Tafoni and then down fir and past the top or Resolution all the way to Methuselah. This section of Fir is pretty steep, a little rocky and outsloped in such a way as to make it reasonably challenged. On the original hydrology maps it is slated to be closed at some time in the future. I am not sure of the status of that now.

    I headed down Methuselah finding some air off the water bars until I got to the northern end of GS trail.

    This end of the trail was finished last fall and was covered with straw and much slashing to bring the width of the trail in the twenty foot corridor down to a pretty consistent three feet. The sign at this end says it is .9 miles to the other end.

    From here the trail descends and winds and undulates with great flow over three fairly large bridges and two or three puncheons where it crosses significant headwaters if the el corte de madera creek. This section of trail is really sweet!

    From there the trail climbs out of the creek at a Consistently overgraze pitch of probably 20%. MROSD staff did a nice job in a challenging alignment to encorporate grade reversals through this section. While not the fastest rider, I pride myself on my ability to clean short, steep and technically challenging sections. This one is both challenging an doable.

    Towards the top of this section the trail was built two years ago, and already numerous small plants are sprouting in the slash beside the trail. It is my opinion, that in a few years the slashed sections should have substantial new vegetation and will not be a reminder of the cranes and front loaders that were in this corridor to remove an old and undersized culvert.

    Eventually the climb becomes more gradual and you meander through the young redwood grove at the top of GS where it joins lower timberview. There a sign states that in the other direction the trail is 1.3 miles long.

    I headed down a ways so that I could better recall the time I took south leaf to Virginia mill and then up timberview to the southern end of GS. This climb as I recall required some significant effort but makes a great loop.

    The other way to get to the southern end of GS is to descend Timberview from the bottom of Manzanita or crossscut trails. MROSD moved this end of GS further down the timberview fireroad making it a glad mile descent from the terminus of crosscut. This descent is known to be popular with rangers with radar guns.

    At this point I tried the new Giant salamander in the longer, south to north direction. It starts with a meander through the redwoods, followed by some nice float descent, and a hair raising switchback into the bridge section. After the first couple bridges the trail descends rapidly over the big grade reversals reminiscent of parts of the mid- mountain trail in Park City. This is a challenging section in both directions.

    Overwall, I think the new GS is a great example of world class singletrack in a challenging corridor. I appreciate the time and effort and big bucks the District sunk into this trail to keep it open. I am no expert but I'd guess easily 250,000 of ourtaxpayer dollars if not double that.

    Is the new GS better than the old? Well, it is different. I have fond memories of careening down the old GS over the rock gardens within sight and smell the creek that produced cool moist air even on the hottest days. The new GS continues to provide an important connector with good flow and rideable inboth directions. My preference might be north to south though.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROMP
    I am no expert but I'd guess easily 250,000 of ourtaxpayer dollars if not double that.
    Man those bridges look super expensive. When will we learn from the Canucks and just chop some nearby tree's down to make a bridge??? Can't wait to try it though.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeng
    Man those bridges look super expensive. When will we learn from the Canucks and just chop some nearby tree's down to make a bridge??? Can't wait to try it though.
    Because without handrails someone will fall off and sue for lots of $$$. That and cutting down tress is a sin against nature, so recycled plastic is used to build the bridges.

  14. #14
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    Rode Giant Salamander today. Trail was real soft in the beginning, covered with leaves and loose. There was a few sections that they made wider than I really like. There are at least 5 or 6 bridges that they built. Looked really expensive. It has been so long that I don't even remember the old GS. Overall I would say they did a nice job. Started at Skeggs Point-->Down Sierra Moreno--->Bear Gulch Road---> down Blue Blossom-->up Gordon Mill to Crossover---> to Crosscut---> to Timberview---> down Timberview to Giant Salamander---> up Methuselah to Fir---> back to car. Great ride. IMHO, riding from Timberview towards Methuselah is the way to go.

  15. #15
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    Anyone riding there this afternoon?

    As in leaving the parking area by 5:15-5:30.

  16. #16
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by One_Speed
    Anyone riding there this afternoon?

    As in leaving the parking area by 5:15-5:30.

    Not Skeggs but I got out!!!

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    Not Skeggs but I got out!!!

    fc
    Good, hope you are not sick anymore?

    Look like ill be @ skeggs more like 5:45 ish, ready to roll by 6.

  18. #18
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    OMG!
    OMG!
    OMG!
    OMG!
    OMG!

    It was the "Duke Nukem 4Ever" of the Bar Area mtb trails.
    Lead by my Lefty............... right down the trail, no brakes.

  19. #19
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    Just got back. It does indeed start a bit further down Timberview on the south end, thought I had missed it at first. Doesn't resemble the old GS a whole lot, only recognized a few spots and they'd been modified to boot. I liked the beginning from the south end the most, but then a bunch of the north still is covered in straw and has uglified clearance on each side of the trail, so once that grows in should be a huge improvement. Trail is more "sanitary", so don't expect the old one...but it's still nice to have it back!

    Oh, and bitterdave, not all the bridges have handrails...
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  20. #20
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    Rode GS both ways. I agree, riding from Timberview towards Methuselah is the way to go . Like a big pump track. Flows well. So smooth and sanitized. I too miss the old techie trails.

    ahh the memories.


    New stuff is still fun, just different.

  21. #21
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    I rode it both ways, too just to get a flavor both directions and also to see if I could find old traces better that way. Definitely easier to climb out of than on the old version, but I still had trouble picking out the old vs new bits...

    ps Nice map!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by One_Speed
    ahh the memories.

    Good ole Fractal Boy, the original old testament of El Corte , hey if anyone still has this map in a bigger version, I'll PM you my e-mail or post it up.

    Thanks

  23. #23
    kpd
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    Just rode it this morning, starting at Timberview. Loved it! Beautiful use of rolling grade reversals.

    Of course I never got to experience the old trail, so I don't know what technical stuff I'm missing.

  24. #24
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    Nice to have the connection back but really a silly waste of money on the perpetual sediment scare these folks keep pushing at the MROSD. They seem to be forever looking for ways to spend other peoples $ on questionable projects. Hmmm, that sounds familiar these days. Riding there in the '90's was so much better.
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  25. #25
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    I agree and some of their earlier projects slid into the creek after one winter, causing more sediment than mtb's ever did. I noticed on the new Giant Salamender, they undercut some of the hillside in spots and you can look up and see exposed root balls on some of the trees. One good wet winter and those babies are coming down for sure.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuuk
    I agree and some of their earlier projects slid into the creek after one winter, causing more sediment than mtb's ever did. I noticed on the new Giant Salamender, they undercut some of the hillside in spots and you can look up and see exposed root balls on some of the trees. One good wet winter and those babies are coming down for sure.
    I was checking how much new soil they cut out...where did it go? Did they actually remove it? Or send it down into the creek? It all somehow became benching material? Anyone know?
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  27. #27
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    I rode it yesterday. I think the soil went on the uphill slope. There is absolutely no vegetation along either side of the trail from the creek crossing to Methusaleh. Scorched earth. Just dead slash the entire way. "We had to destroy the village to save the village."

    The trail is fine. The section from Timberview to the creek crossing is more interesting IMHO.

    Glad to see that all sections of Leaf are open. It was my fist mt bike ride since a bad fall/injury in January. Knocked out 20 miles. My new Joplin seatpost was KEWL!
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  28. #28
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    I remember getting a Fractal Boy map like that with all the squiggly red lines on it to show the old-school hidden (illegal) trails. I lost it on an old Mac, but I seem to remember that all of the trails on it are now closed and grown over.

    Skeggs was the sh*t back in 1997 before the "cleansing". Remember the tree that had a first-aid kit nailed to it?

  29. #29
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    Yeah the those old trails sure would be fun today with 5-6" bikes and disc brakes.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuuk
    I agree and some of their earlier projects slid into the creek after one winter, causing more sediment than mtb's ever did. I noticed on the new Giant Salamender, they undercut some of the hillside in spots and you can look up and see exposed root balls on some of the trees. One good wet winter and those babies are coming down for sure.
    They can't take out the trees... they have to let them fall "naturally".
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  31. #31
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    i rode it this morning. pretty cool, the best part is having a connection to both sides of the park. thank you to all that worked on the project.

  32. #32
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    Bb > Gst > Nl > Re

    Glad Giant Salamander Trail is reopened.

    This is my new favorite route at ECdM.

    My Monday route: Sierra Morena > Skyline & Bear Gulch > Blue Blossom > Gordon Mill > Crossover & Crosscut > Timberview > Giant Salamander > Methuselah > North Leaf > ECdM Creek Trail > Resolution > Fir > Tafoni.

    13+ miles / 2.5 hours



    How do you connect Blue Blossom, South Leaf, and Resolution?

    While GST was closed, my previously preferred access to the Leaf Trails was climbing Manzanita with an out-and-back Resolution/North Leaf/South Leaf run. I never had the motivation to take Gordon Mill > Virginia Mill to access South/North Leafs. Trudging up fire roads (the Mills) for half the ride just ain't my idea of fun.

    With GST, I get to ride the Methuselah creek crossing (tried once and failed to climb up over the mossy rock; not enough momentum to get rear tire started up the rock face) and add North Leaf as I swing up Resolution back to Skeggs Point.

    Also, I'm thinking of a low-key TT challenge for the month of May. (Inspired by kpd's Belmont Half Mountain Challenge!)
    Any votes for Manzanita TT climb or Resolution TT climb?

    The GST wooden bridges with guard rails look hella pro. Is the metal algae-green bridge old or new?

  33. #33
    kpd
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    Quote Originally Posted by wddung
    This is my new favorite route at ECdM.

    My Monday route: Sierra Morena > Skyline & Bear Gulch > Blue Blossom > Gordon Mill > Crossover & Crosscut > Timberview > Giant Salamander > Methuselah > North Leaf > ECdM Creek Trail > Resolution > Fir > Tafoni.
    That sounds like a nice route. I consider South Leaf almost mandatory on any long Skeggs ride though. I too am wishing there was a way to include it without that hellish climb.

    Quote Originally Posted by wddung
    Also, I'm thinking of a low-key TT challenge for the month of May. (Inspired by kpd's Belmont Half Mountain Challenge!)
    Any votes for Manzanita TT climb or Resolution TT climb?
    Hells yeah!

  34. #34
    fc
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    The work done is spectacular. I saw it in progress and it was a wastland because of all the construction. I thought it would take five years to get the trail narrowed again after heavy equipment got in there. But to cover up the fire road, they dug up the hillside, and covered it with bush. There's a bit of hay on the ground but that will work out with time. And the best part is the trail should only get better as it gets ridden.

    Make sure you descend this trail (from Timberview) to get the best experience.

    This trail and Crosscut and Connector really open up the patterns and routes in Skeggs.

    fc

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by wddung
    Glad Giant Salamander Trail is reopened.

    This is my new favorite route at ECdM.

    My Monday route: Sierra Morena > Skyline & Bear Gulch > Blue Blossom > Gordon Mill > Crossover & Crosscut > Timberview > Giant Salamander > Methuselah > North Leaf > ECdM Creek Trail > Resolution > Fir > Tafoni.

    13+ miles / 2.5 hours
    +1. We did this exact same route on Sunday, and it was awesome. I did this on my rigid singlespeed, and it did not kill me. Highly recommended if you want to SS at Skeggs as this route minimizes killer fire road climbs.

  36. #36
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    I'll probably do some skeggs this weekend.

  37. #37
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    Rode GS from Methuselah to Timberview last Sun. It's nothing like the old trail. It's no Resolution but I'll take it. I'm glad it's very rideable in the uphill direction too as it cuts out that longish grind on methuselah, and makes crossing over to the other side easier and more fun. Rode South Leaf for the first time in years too. Fun!

    Time to climb on GS


    South Leaf goods




    El Saltamontes taking on the Manzanita climb


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